Patient-specific meniscus prototype based on 3D bioprinting of human cell-laden scaffold

Giuseppe Filardo, Mauro Petretta, Carola Cavallo, Livia Roseti, Stefano Durante, Ugo Albisinni, Brunella Grigolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Meniscal injuries are often associated with an active lifestyle. The damage of meniscal tissue puts young patients at higher risk of undergoing meniscal surgery and, therefore, at higher risk of osteoarthritis. In this study, we undertook proof-of-concept research to develop a cellularized human meniscus by using 3D bioprinting technology.

Methods: A 3D model of bioengineered medial meniscus tissue was created, based on MRI scans of a human volunteer. The Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) data from these MRI scans were processed using dedicated software, in order to obtain an STL model of the structure. The chosen 3D Discovery printing tool was a microvalve-based inkjet printhead. Primary mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were isolated from bone marrow and embedded in a collagen-based bio-ink before printing. LIVE/DEAD assay was performed on realized cell-laden constructs carrying MSCs in order to evaluate cell distribution and viability.

Results: This study involved the realization of a human cell-laden collagen meniscus using 3D bioprinting. The meniscus prototype showed the biological potential of this technology to provide an anatomically shaped, patient-specific construct with viable cells on a biocompatible material.

Conclusion: This paper reports the preliminary findings of the production of a custom-made, cell-laden, collagen-based human meniscus. The prototype described could act as the starting point for future developments of this collagen-based, tissue-engineered structure, which could aid the optimization of implants designed to replace damaged menisci.Cite this article: G. Filardo, M. Petretta, C. Cavallo, L. Roseti, S. Durante, U. Albisinni, B. Grigolo. Patient-specific meniscus prototype based on 3D bioprinting of human cell-laden scaffold. Bone Joint Res 2019;8:101-106. DOI: 10.1302/2046-3758.82.BJR-2018-0134.R1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalBone and Joint Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2 2019


  • Bioprinting
  • Cell-laden bio-ink
  • Meniscus
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Scaffold


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